Tag Archives: wildflowers

Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Day Ride April 2010

 

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Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Day Ride

Janet and I needed to get away, so last Monday we went riding in the hill country to see all the wildflowers. The wildflowers are really pretty this year because of the wet and cold winter we have had. It was nice to finally get out with Janet on the new Goldwing. Janet likes it better than the old bike because it is a lot more comfortable (i.e. nice big cushy seat and backrest). I’m hoping Janet will be a little more willing to ride more often and further on this bike. We have talked about riding to Arizona sometimes. I was hoping that we could ride to Mount Rushmore this September. Janet didn’t get to go on that ride and it was a fun ride and she really wished that she could have gone. We will see. Below are some pictures from our ride last Monday ride.

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Hill Country Wildflowers

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Yucca on cliff at LBJ Lake

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Hill Country Wildflowers

 

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Janet in the Bluebonnets at Buchanan Lake. Ain’t she cute?

We enjoyed that ride so much that we are going on a three-day trip Monday thru Wednesday. The ride will be about 570 mile thru some really scenic hill country roads and again the wild flowers should be really good again. It will be the first time we have traveled over night on the new bike.

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Bluebonnets at Buchanan Lake

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Yuccas by the road

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Above LBJ Lake

If you like this post you may like the 3 day ride we took a few days later. It was a great ride with more wildflowers. Click here to see.

Ride safe.

 

 

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 1 May 2013

 

Map of Day 1

Map of Day 1

After seeing an article in the “Texas Highways” magazine about the “Texas Independence Trail” I thought it would be a good motorcycle ride. I have seen the road signs in the past many times but hadn’t given it much thought until seeing this article. The Texas Historical Commission has charted out a good motorcycle adventure with its delineation of the Texas Independence Trail region. The trail is an area that winds through the Houston/Galveston area following the coast to West Columbia and Victoria. The trail then continues on to Goliad, San Antonio, Gonzales, Bastrop and Brenham. All along the trail are sites rich in Texas Independence history and much more.

Texas Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

Texas Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

 

Texas Independence Trail road signs.

Texas Independence Trail road signs.

Here is a timeline for those of you not familiar with Texas history. It will help you unravel what happened and maybe you understand what I was seeing…

  • December 1821: Stephen F. Austin settles the first 300 Anglo families in Texas.
  • April 1834: Santa Anna takes control of Mexico and repeals Constitution of 1824.
  • October 2, 1835: The first military engagement of the Texas Revolution.
  • February 22/24 1836: Santa Anna attacks the Alamo.
  • March 2, 1836: Texian delegates (comprised of Anglo and Mexican) gather at Washington on the Brazos to sign a declaration of independence and create a government.
  • March 6, 1836: The Alamo falls to Santa Anna and the Mexican Army.
  • March 27, 1836: Col. Fannin and his men are massacred at Goliad.
  • April 21, 1836: General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeat Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
  • October 1836: The first permanent government of the Republic was elected under President Sam Houston, and met at Columbia in the fall of 1836.

100_6195   Due to the logistics, I wasn’t able follow the exact trail. I did follow it as much as possible. There is a lot to see on the trail, but I was limited by time, so I tried to hit the most significant points along the way. These were my goals…

Janet was in San Diego so she wasn’t able to go on the ride. My cousin W. D. was going but at the last minute he had to put his scooter in the shop and he is waiting on a part. I thought about not doing the ride. I decided if I was going I needed to leave the next day. Late that night, I packed everything and loaded the saddle bags to leave the next morning and hoped I hadn’t forgotten something. When I left the weather was perfect, 66 degrees and partly cloudy. I headed out and was about 20 miles from home when I realized… I had left the camera! I had to have the camera… so back home I went. I lost about an hour but I had lots of daylight left. The total mileage for today was 198 miles, excluding the miles for going back home for the camera.

Texas Independence Trail motorcycle ride

Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

My first and only stop today is Washington on the Brazos the site of Texas declaring its independence from Mexico. The ride to Washington on the Brazos was a good one. The spring wildflowers were still blooming and added a splash of color to the green from the recent rains. Along my route were many gentle hills covered in trees and open pasture areas. There were some nice gentle curves along the way, too. It was a cool ride both figuratively and literally.

Washington on the Brazos Visitor Center

Washington on the Brazos Visitor Center

Washington on the Brazos, the birth place of Texas, is now a state park. You can walk the grounds where there are markers telling what was where at the time. Everything is free unless you want to take one of the guided tours or tour the new “The Star of the Republic” museum. The museum is administered by Blinn College. Independence Hall is revered as one of Texas’ most significant historic places. The original building burned sometime around the turn of the century but a replica of Independence Hall marks the place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.

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Independence Hall

Also at the park is the Barrington Living History Farm where you can travel back in time to participate in the daily activities of an 1850’s cotton farm. You may take part in seasonal activities, daily chores, games and toys of the time. I could have stayed longer at the park… there is a lot to take in… but it was almost 1:00 and I was starving. So I was back on the road looking for a good place to eat…

Texas Independence Trail

Texas Independence Trail

I had made good time in spite of the late start. Now it was on to visit my son Tony and his family in Spring. The ride was more of what I had seen earlier in the day. Gentle hills and curves with wild flowers beside the road and in open pastures… It was nice, not too warm and traffic wasn’t bad. I was dreading Houston traffic and was relieved that it was not too bad… This was partly because it was Saturday and I had some good luck. I stayed the night with Tony and we had a nice visit. Savanna, my granddaughter, wasn’t too sure about me and the motorcycle… but since grandma wasn’t with me (she is a grandma’s girl) it didn’t take her long to get over it. She had to show me all of her dolls, toys and her new big girl bed. Tomorrow it is on to the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument… Stay tuned… You can read the other posts about this ride here…

Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Ride April 12 – 13, 2012 (478 Miles)

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Blue Bonnets at Buchanan Lake

Each year we try to do a Texas Hill Country wildflower motorcycle ride while everything is in bloom. Janet and I are lucky that we live at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. Besides Big Bend the Hill Country is the best place to ride in Texas. For the past year and a half we haven’t been able to do much riding due to other pressing things going on in our lives. We are constantly trying to get caught up on things… but sometimes you just have to make time to have some fun. So we took a couple of days to ride the Hill Country and see this year’s crop of wildflowers. We were afraid we had missed the peak of the wildflower season due to it turning warm sooner this year, but actually I think we picked the best time. I wasn’t sure about how the weather was going to be because they had forecasted 20% rain and breezy conditions. As it turned out it was a pretty good ride even though we did get some rain and it did get pretty breezy the last 40 or so miles of the ride.

There are so many good roads to ride in the Texas Hill Country. Every time we go riding in the Hill Country I try to take different routes to change things up a bit. It is amazing the different things you see when riding a road in the opposite direction. It’s as if you are riding a different road at times and I find myself wondering how I managed to miss some of the sites before.

You never know from year to year what the wildflower crop will be and because of the drought I was afraid the flowers would be few and far between. We were pleasantly surprised to find the flower crop was pretty good this year. As far as I am concerned, the only way to truly appreciate the wildflowers is on a bike, motored or otherwise. Seeing them from an air-conditioned car isn’t much better than seeing them on TV. When riding a motorcycle you not only see but smell and feel your surroundings. The smells are incredible as you ride along not just the flowers but nature in general. It has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Below are links to each day’s ride. Come follow along and enjoy the ride and scenery of our beautiful Texas Hill Country.

You may also like these rides in our beautiful Texas Hill Country.

 

Texas Hill Country Wildflower Motorcycle Ride April 19-21, 2010

Since February Janet and I have been really busy and were in need of a break. Each year we try to do  a Texas Hill Country wildflower motorcycle ride. Since the wildflowers are the best they have been in who knows when and since we haven’t had a chance to break-in the new bike we decided to take a 3-day ride to the Texas Hill Country. Riding is the best way to see the wildflowers because you are out there with them. The sights and smells are beyond belief. The only downside to this trip was we didn’t have our usual motorcycle buddies along (Larry & Jo Cooper and Larry & Shirley Talley) and it was overcast for most of the first day, which kept the temps 55 to 68 degrees. All in all it was a great ride. Our route looked like a figure eight and covered 610 miles total.

April 19, 2010  270 Miles

wildflower motorcycle ride Texas Hill Country

Map Day 1

The route was Georgetown, to Llano, to the Willow City Loop,  past Enchanted Rock, to Fredericksburg, to Kerrville, to Hunt, to Camp Wood. The first part of this day we have ridden before. The last part from Hunt was new and was beyond anything we had anticipated. Most of the day was overcast and a bit cooler than we had expected but by the end of the day the sun was out and we got to enjoy the new roads in the sun. Most of our route was covered in wildflowers (mostly Bluebonnets).

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Lake Buchanan Damn Hwy-29

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Hwy-29 heading to Llano

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Willow City Loop

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Willow City Loop

The Willow City Loop was good as always. It is a special place and it has to be ridden at least once every season, to see it in its entire splendor. The descent into the valley offers views of neighboring mountains, canyons and creeks. It must be ridden slowly to enjoy the views, as it is one of the most pristine and striking examples of Hill country landscape. There were a lot of people out on the loop for a weekday. I would not even think about riding the loop on a weekend in wildflower season. Way too many people on weekends, especially this year with a bumper crop of wildflowers. While always enjoyable, this ride is spectacular when the bluebonnets are in bloom.

From the loop we backtracked to RR-965 and rode to Fredericksburg. RR-965 goes past Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and is a favorite road for bikers. RR-965 offers great views all along the way and even better views with all the wildflowers. We ate lunch in Fredericksburg before heading down Hwy-16 to Kerrville. From there it was on to Hunt. Hwy-39 is another nice biker road but we only went as far as Hunt and then took RR-1340 to Hwy-41.

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Stonehenge

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Easter Island head

We have heard and read a lot about RR-1340 but this was the first time we have ridden it. It snakes through scenic country and offers a view of the Texas version of Stonehenge, a one-quarter-size replica of the original. There are a couple of Easter Island stone head replicas also. There was supposed to be more but the Texan creator passed away. While at Stonehenge we talked to a group of riders from Louisiana. There was about 10 or more bikes in the group. Some have ridden here many times and for some it was their first time. The first timers thought Texas was flat… not anymore…

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Verbena on RR-335

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Kangaroos & Verbena on RR-335

From RR-1340 we rode Hwy-41 to RR-335. At the intersection of Hwy-41 and Hwy-83 is a store called Garvan’s Store. Janet heard about it on the radio sometime back and wanted to stop. It was a small country store. It sold souvenirs and leathers for all the bikers that ride through there. They had some good prices on the leathers but we didn’t need anything. We got a Dr. Pepper and Pepsi and we were back on the road.

RR-335 is one of the roads that make up what bikers call the “Three Sisters”, some refer to them as the “Twisted Sisters”. After riding two of the sisters I know why they might call them twisted. RR-335 was one of our favorite roads on this trip. It followed along the west bank of the Nueces River and had some really great views. Verbena was the most prevalent wildflower on this road. Some of the fields and pastures looked like a sea of purple and the smell hung in the air for miles and miles. Along the way we came across a ranch that raised all sorts of wild animals. Near the road were kangaroos with little Joeys, giraffes and further down we saw camels. RR-335 is a twisty roller coaster of a ride but doesn’t have sharp turns so it wasn’t so bad. We road nice and easy.

It was about 5:00 when we got to Camp Wood. The town was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. We stayed at the Woodbine Inn. The rooms were roomy and quite nice. The owner was nice and I spent quite awhile talking to her about Camp Wood. There were several restaurants to choose from there. Not all were open but still surprising for a town of 800+ people. We ate dinner at B.J.’s Café. It was a typical small town café with all the ambiance. The burger and fries were good.

April 20, 2010  180 miles

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Map Day 2

Today’s route took us to Leakey, Vanderpool, Medina, Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Doss, Mason and Brady.

This morning we ate at Casa Falcon Restaurant in Camp Wood. The food was good except for the coffee. It was a bit weak for our taste. Because we were only riding 180 miles today we took our time getting up and getting on the road. The temperature was about 55 degrees when we got up but warmed quickly once the cloud cover burnt off about 9:00.

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-337

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-337

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-337

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-337

We rode RR-337 an other road of the “Three Sisters” from Camp Wood to Medina. I’ve ridden part of 337 before but from Camp Wood to Leakey was new. That leg of 337 is actually the best part. It offered great views with the twisties. It was a bit more twisty than 335 but it wasn’t really that bad. Janet didn’t mind it so I was ok with that. RR-337 had great scenery too. We also saw several buffalo along the way.

From Medina we took Hwy-16 to Kerrville and on to Fredericksburg. Hwy-16 from Medina to Kerrville is another favorite biker road. It has many twisties with several hairpin curves. Needless to say you have to take it slow and easy.

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Fredericksburg

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Fredericksburg

We ate lunch again in Fredericksburg at one of the German restaurants. It was good as usual. After lunch we spent time walking around town doing touristy things.

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Doss Lutheran Church

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-783

From Fredericksburg we took Hwy-87 to RR-648 to Doss. I have read about this road to Doss and we were not disappointed. You ride into a valley with wildflowers all along the way. Doss consisted of a Lutheran Church and school and not much more. From there we took RR-783 back to Hwy-87. RR-783 was a great ride too as we climbed back to Hwy-87. Taking Hwy-87 on to Mason and Brady was pretty quick. We checked into the Days Inn in Brady around 4:00. McDonald’s was just next-door so we just grabbed a quick bite there for dinner and took it easy.

April 21, 2010 152 Miles

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Map Day 3

Again since MC Donald’s was next door to our motel and they have really good coffee we had breakfast there. The sun was out and only a few clouds. We knew the ride would be good.

Today we rode to Pontotoc, Cherokee, Bend, Lampasas and on home. Today was a lazy easy ride home with lots of bluebonnets and other wildflowers in abundance. We also saw several bunches of hybrid bluebonnets from Texas A&M. I guess you can’t call them bluebonnets because they are maroon. Maybe call them maroonbonnets instead!

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

Hwy-71

motorcycle wildflower ride Texas hill country

RR-501

We rode Hwy-71 to Pontotoc then took RR-501 to Bend where we picked up RR-580 to Lampasas. These were less traveled roads. We saw only a few cars until we got to Lampasas. From there we took Hwy-183 to FM-970 to Andice where we stopped and had lunch at the little store there that claims to have the best hamburgers. I must admit they were good and by the number of people eating there they must have thought so… or they saw the same sign we did… We got home a little after one and rested up the rest of the day.

This was the first real long ride on the new bike. Janet likes the seat better than the old bike. She says she can ride longer between stops, that is a good thing since the range is greater with the 6.6-gallon gas tank. All in all we really enjoyed this little trip and the new bike. We are looking forward to next year’s wildflower crop. We will be back to ride more Hill Country roads.

If you liked this post you may also like “Texas Hill Country Wildflower Ride April 2012”